Education Building Projects – Forget Constraints and Focus on Possibilities

Building programmes on existing school sites present particular issues. School land, especially in towns and cities, is often at a premium. Nobody wants to eat further into sports and outdoor play facilities, so new buildings often have to fit into very tight spaces.

These spaces are frequently alongside or among existing buildings where teaching and learning have to continue. Access can be difficult and there are significant health and safety issues to be managed. It’s no wonder that ‘temporary’ buildings have always been common on school sites. But these stop-gap solutions have a habit of becoming long-term and don’t offer the best learning environment.

New Methods, Better Solutions

Advances in construction technology, specifically around Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) open new opportunities to create high-performing school buildings on restricted school sites, with minimal disruption to learners and nearby communities.

Bristol’s Air Balloon Primary School expansion had many of the elements that make these projects so challenging. The project sought to combine the existing infant and junior schools, linking them via a bridge that incorporated additional ground floor classrooms.

Far from eating into play facilities, the design created a new outdoor all-weather court, using part of the first floor of the extension to double as a purpose-built playground. This promotes year-round activity.

The enhanced acoustic insulation for the new ground floor classrooms was designed-in and easily installed on site. Using large format i-SIP panels also made it possible to complete the dry structure in just five weeks to a tightly controlled schedule.

Less Disruption to Learning

Manufacturing the structure offsite for rapid onsite assembly inevitably means less noise, dust, disruption and risk within the live school environment. It’s also easier to schedule onsite operations to take place at weekends or during holidays.

At the same time – as the Air Balloon Primary School project shows – there’s plenty of scope for imaginative design work that delivers additional educational benefits alongside the greater timing and cost surety.

Panelised offsite is a natural fit for education building projects because it directly overcomes many of the constraints and risks these projects present. Meanwhile, the integrated design to installation service offered by Innovaré makes the i-SIP System ideal for contractors seeking solutions for those problems that don’t involve compromising on the design or learning environment.

To find out more about how panelised offsite can bring benefits for your next school building programme, contact us today on 0845 674 0020.